What are they?
Veggies (and more), boxed or bagged and dropped to your door or nearby pick up point. The first veg box scheme started in the late 1980’s and there are now countless across the UK.
More than just veg, many schemes offer extras like fruit, eggs, meat, milk and honey to name just a few.
Why buy though?
They’re an easy way to get your hands on a range of goods, often local and organic, straight from producers. They promote seasonal produce and help cut down on plastic packaging and food miles.
What are the options?
Local – run by a farm, company or cooperative, they offer freshly grown produce (and sometimes other tasty goodies like cheese and cake) from the surrounding area.
National – larger-scale operations, such as Riverford and Abel & Cole, that supply produce from a network of growers and makers both in the UK and abroad.
How do I start?
Most veg box schemes offer a weekly, fortnightly or monthly subscription, but you can try a one-off order to see if it’s for you.
Find a veg box scheme in your area through a simple internet search or have a browse here.
What will I get?
Veg boxes come in different sizes to suit your household. Cheaper subscriptions tend to offer a fixed selection of basics, while at the more expensive end some schemes offer a build your own box option where you can choose exactly what you get.
If something’s not available, you’ll usually receive a substitution. Some schemes let you specify ‘never send’ items if there’s anything you really can’t stand (give sprouts a chance!), while smaller schemes might have a swap box where you can trade unwanted bits.
Can I change my order?
Allowances vary from scheme to scheme but many let you to make changes to your order up to a certain time before your delivery is due. So if you’re suddenly in need of swede say, you can still pop it in the box.
How is it delivered?
Usually, a delivery driver does the rounds dropping the order to your door within an agreed time slot. You should also be able to give alternative delivery instructions (leave in the shed/with a neighbour type thing).
Some schemes don’t do door-to-door deliveries but have a local collection point for you to pick up from. Of the schemes that we looked into, all offered a way of pausing or cancelling orders if you’re going away or fancy a break.
As you’d expect, a lot of schemes are hot on recycling and will reuse veg boxes, ice packs and insulation many times, so take check out instructions so you know what to return at the next delivery.
Veg box schemes like to be as user friendly as possible so expect good levels of customer support, like cheery and helpful staff, easy to use websites and useful tips on how to make the most of your delivery.
Is it for me?
With so many veg box schemes now available, there’s bound to be differences in how they work, so get to know more about the options in your area to decide if it would work for you. But we hope with this bountiful crop of info we might have dangled the carrot…